To My Friends Asking Questions About The March

photo found on twitter.

On Saturday morning the sun was shining and it was 50 degrees by 9:00 a.m. Our morning walk led us to the 606 trail, a former train line that runs through the west side of Chicago.

On this walk I saw an elderly couple wearing matching “FEMINIST” t-shirts. They were smiling and carrying signs under their arms. I passed a young family pushing a double stroller, all four family members were wearing green shirts that read “CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL.”

The dad was wearing shorts; as were several people given that it was about to be in the high 50s, in January, in Chicago…

I got goosebumps when I saw a pack of little girls carrying signs that read “Girls Can Do Anything Boys Can,” and then once again when I saw a young group of boys with a sign that read, “Boys Will Be Boys Good Humans.”

The feeling on the 606 and in Wicker Park on Saturday morning was electric.

I was late to the march, but when I got downtown the feeling that I had picked up from earlier in the day had only expanded. There were people everywhere of all ages, of all colors, from different backgrounds and religions, supporting one another. If you think I’m romanticizing this I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that you didn’t attend a march. Granted, I can only speak from my experience, but that is what I saw yesterday in Chicago.

No one rioting. No one was being violent. Instead I saw people hugging, holding hands, and dancing. It was a feeling of acceptance and support I don’t want to forget.

As I said, I can only speak from what I saw. I’m not sure what went on at the 600 other marches around the world.

Think about that for a second. This was not just about the US, it went far beyond.

It was not a matter of Democrats marching in protest of Republicans as I’ve seen so many of my conservative friends state. It was that way for some, but not all. For Chris, my husband the Republican who came with me, it was about support. And equality for everyone.

I didn’t go downtown yesterday to protest Trump. I am aware he is our president and even though that is not the outcome I wanted, I’m being honest when I say that I truly hopes he proves me wrong. Unfortunately thus far, he hasn’t.

But yesterday afternoon was a powerful day where it felt like positive change might actually be on the horizon.

And then I got on Facebook.

This is the part when I take a deep sigh and don’t know exactly how to start part two of this post.

I saw so many posts/rants/hurtful things said about such a peaceful march and I’d like to say it surprised me, but it didn’t. People tend to hate things they don’t understand.

I am upset. I know a lot of you are, as well; whether you supported the march or didn’t. I am yet to have an insightful discussion with someone who opposed what happened yesterday and that is all I am craving. I am searching for answers as to why a march for equality brought people so much anger?

I’d like to attempt to touch on some of the rhetoric I saw floating around from some of my conservative friends and family to let them know they were heard. I saw their frustrations, I am listening, and I am honestly trying to have an open conversation. My only request is that they do the same for me.

Let’s start with this one:

“I don’t recall republicans protesting when Obama was elected.”

Oh, but they did. I was a Republican then and I remember it firsthand. Burning black dolls? Hanging them from trees? The heinous racist acts that happened for eight years are not something you can simply turn away from.

In my own hometown during a parade there was a float that had a dark figurine in overalls standing next to an outhouse that was labeled “OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY.” Is that protesting? Or just simply racist?

The judges at the parade gave the float an award for “honorable mention.”

“I’m a woman and I voted for Trump, so don’t count me in on this Womans March.”

As stated above, this was not a march simply to oppose Trump (for some it was, for many others it went far beyond that notion.)

Also, please don’t forget why we as women have this wonderful right to vote… Because of the women who marched before us.

Women are 20 years to late to this! What rights don’t we have?!

Actually, yes. I agree with this one. Ladies, let’s pack up our bags and go home. We have all the rights we’ll ever get. Time to call it a day, kick up our heels, and have some cosmos!

Take a breath, Taylor.

I’m getting snarky and that is not my intent. I’m Sorry. I struggle to see how women think this way. I need to remind myself we’re all entitled to our own opinions.

So no, in my opinion we don’t have all the rights I’d like to have. For me personally, it’s that darn ol’ wage gap that keeps getting my female feathers all riled! Full time female workers made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2015 (the gap is even higher for women of color.)

Call me crazy, but I’m not okay with any gap.

“I earn just as much as all the men in my company! Because I work hard and don’t just gripe about it.”

Dear Facebook friend I don’t know, you work at a wonderful company! Sadly the majority of companies are not this way. So we shall march on until they are.

“Marching will do nothing. Stop whining and move on!”

How sad it would be if our country really did this. There would be no Civil Rights March. No Women’s Suffrage. No Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation. Marches are a strong part of our history and will continue to be a part of our future.  To see nine of the biggest marches ever in our country, click here.

“But I saw someone holding a pussy sign!”

Women are taking back their pussies, what can I say.

“These issues aren’t new. And yet this march just came about when Trump was elected… Explain that.”

This is a very valid question and one that I couldn’t simply answer on my own, so when I come across something like this I often seek input from those I consider to be fair, intelligent, thinkers. This came from my friend Sarah-

“It’s true. It’s something people with privilege have to acknowledge: that this large show of support for women of color and immigrants and LGBTQ and all other marginalized people probably wouldn’t have happened if a white woman had been elected president.

But also I think it’s important to note that even if that oppression wouldn’t have gone away overnight had Hillary been elected, Hillary didn’t openly spout racist sexist rhetoric to get elected. So yes, it happened the day after Trump’s inauguration because it was to say to people who may feel hopeless or hated that you’re not and we support you.”

“What about women who don’t ask for any kind of special treatment but instead believe, no matter male or female, we are owed nothing in life and hard work and dedication will achieve anything set our minds on!”

“We are owed something in life – acknowledgement of our humanity. Everyone is owed that, if you’re fighting a system that thinks you’re less than human there’s only so much hard work and dedication you can do.”  -Sarah

“But why were people even marching?”

This is a heavy question that has a lot of answers as so many people had their own reasons and beliefs for marching yesterday. In my opinion some of the biggest were: human rights, women’s health, equal pay, paid leave, climate change, the list goes on and on. But that’s only my opinion.

I also read several stories about women marching to support their friends and family who have been sexually assaulted (1 in 5 women have been, so that number adds up pretty quick.) Even if you’re “not offended by what Trump said five years ago,” a lot of other people are.

I think we all know there isn’t an end to this rhetoric. It goes on and on and sadly it gets ugly pretty quick.

We sit behind our computers and watch as the threads get longer; either feeding off the hate, or feeling hopeless because of it. There are those who are quick to comment, those who simply lurk, and then there are those of us who write a hundred different responses in our head, or even actually type them out, but rarely hit publish.

Today I’m hitting publish. It’s boiled up to the point where it can’t simply sit inside me anymore.

We’ve all had different thoughts and experiences that have shaped who we are as people and how our opinions are formed, this is just one example of mine. I haven’t written this with the purpose to hurt or cause anger, but simply because I heard the voices of others and now I’m taking a second to voice my own.

*Please keep the comments respectful (you hold that power, so I swear it’s possible.)